Rockstar is basking in the glory of one of their best-ever years in 2019.
There has been an evolution in how gaming works, and no other developer has responded as well to the demand of our favorite franchises in online play format.
GTA Online and Red Dead Online have been so successful that they seemingly have made the decision for those involved with making the game to wait until the next-gen consoles are out before thinking of releasing new editions to the franchise.
That said, with this new evolution of gaming comes new problems. And with new power, comes new responsibilities.
What's the problem?
Spend a few minutes searching Red Dead Online on either YouTube or Reddit and you will quickly see the problem.
There are lots of examples of weird edits affecting players sessions. Whether its burning people alive or framed for murders, there are plenty of issues that can ruin a gamers experience.
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The latest to show up is slightly more worrying and has dark undertones. In a recent forum post, there has been a worrying development that modders can now drain your in-game cash.
Red Dead Online has two forms of currency; cash which is earned in-game, and gold bars which are purchased using microtransactions. Currently, it seems clear that gold bars can't be drained. Which stops this from being a PR disaster.
But it will steal a lot of the hard work and time players invest in the game, and Rockstar will be attentive to this as when it happens its common for players to lose interest in a game completely.
What can Rockstar do?
This isn't the first time they have experienced in-game fraud. There are lots of examples of this kind of activity happening in GTA Online with players creating insurance fraud schemes to steal cash.
In an eerie way, the creation of gaming worlds has recreated real-world crimes.
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For the benefit of Rockstar, it's worth pointing out this kind of activity is rare. It only needs to happen once for it to gain notoriety, but this isn't impacting every player. But as gaming evolves, this kind of press will be important to keep out of the mainstream media for negative reasons.
But there's always the motive for cheats to take things further, and that's how this mod came about. And this is why it is heartening to see Rockstar taking it more seriously since the turn of 2020.
The number of reports is increasing, as are the number of bans. Many gamers are commending the improvement to the anti-cheating processes, but this needs to continue to stay ahead of the cheats.
It is difficult to spot when in-game as players can mask usernames as well as other tactics. But the developers have the ability to monitor which accounts have sudden influxes to cash or gold as a mechanism for monitoring gamers.
But this will require more investment in managing the eco-system of the online world. Something which feels inevitable in the way gaming is going, but also something which seems a good investment when compared to potential PR disasters should a cheat find the way of stealing content that has been purchased with real money.